When: Thursday, Jan 31 | 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Location: MTCC 105/106

Days: Thursday. Event Types: Featured Speaker.


That the Canadian justice system fails to provide justice for sexual assault victims is an old concern. A debate about how and why this is the case erupts whenever a particularly egregious story surfaces in the media. But once the case drops out of the headlines, people move on and the system continues failing. In the summer of 2015, Canada was in the midst of one of these outrage cycles —Jian Ghomeshi’s sexual assault trial was fast approaching and the Bill Cosby scandal was continuing to unfold in the United States. It left the Globe and Mail’s Robyn Doolittle wondering if there was a way to use investigative journalism to move this discussion beyond the anecdotal. Was there a way to definitively prove that sexual assault cases were being systematically mismanaged?

The result was a 20-month investigation called “Unfounded,” which revealed that 1 out of every 5 sexual assault allegations reported to police was being dismissed as a baseless or false accusation. Doolittle’s series prompted a national overhaul of sexual assault policy and practices. As of last December, police had pledged to review 37,000 previously closed cases. More than 400 have been reopened.

Doolittle will take you through this unprecedented piece of journalism in Canada and the change that it has inspired.